Status: Last week I stayed on pace with the usual submission rotation and blog postings. I was finally able to confirm the formatting of the paperback version of The First Three ‘Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND’; to have a more effective release date, I should have started formatting the paperback a couple of weeks earlier. Live and learn. My next release date is May 5th – need to decide soon.
I wrote 2300 words (short of my 3000 quota) last week – all of them on “The Voices.” This week I hope to finish it (although at the moment it’s being stubborn), as well as the final revisions or “No Present Like the Time” and “Stalking Rebecca”, but for now I’ve only sent three of the required twelve stories for this year – not a good pace for the year, especially with Swordsmaster looming ahead.
Aside from a genuine desire to write, I chose writing as my creative release because it was the one thing on my list that I could do just about anywhere, and that I could do ALONE. Once I made the decision, I spent entirely too much time researching HOW to become a writer. A lot of the advice suggested getting into a writer’s group. I joined an online workshop and felt I did more than my share on the giving end (discussions, full reads and critiques, etc.), but when I finally started producing my work, reciprocation was little-to-none. I compared the amount of time I was putting into the giving side vs. the receiving, and it was a losing proposition, which was also robbing me of what limited time I had to write. I felt I had learned as much as I could from that relationship and struck out on my own.
This shouldn’t have come as a surprise – I have always been somewhat of a loner, and I DID choose writing because I could do it ALONE. We all get different things from the same experiences, so even I got something out of this one. I was able to experience the work of my peers and see the differences in skill level, voice, and style. I engaged in discussions about how other writers worked, how they did things, and how they SHOULD be done. I’ve never been good on orthodoxy – I ask WHY too often for the keepers of the gates, and tend to do things my own way (and being a GATEWAY WRITER, sometimes “my way” isn’t under my control.)
I also have a stubborn streak – it’s very hard for me to take a story and try to alter it from the way it wanted to come out to fit some “more sellable” template. I know this is one of my personal foibles, and I would probably sell more if I did, and I WOULD like to sell more.
Last weekend I watched the 2017 Writers of the Future awards ceremony (this is the 2nd year I’ve watched), and I started thinking again about submitting. Back when I first got going on my writing production (with the help of setting FIRM GOALS), I used to submit a story every quarter. “Purr-Mission,” the ninth story I completed, won an Honorable Mention in the last quarter that K.D. Wentworth judged. I thought this was a big deal, but then not so much later, and my entries petered out to only occasionally. It’s been over a year since I last sent one in.
I watched the WotF ceremony because it inspires me. Not the artsy performances, or the interesting videos about L. Ron Hubbard and the genre, but the acceptance speeches. These are all people who are pretty much new writers – at least new to being published, and it’s interesting to hear how they handled their doubts and kept plugging along. There was lots of mention of the contest impacting them because it made them complete a story each quarter. I’ve had my goals set to more frequency than that for years; I’ve been in a production based mode for a few years now thanks to Heinlein by way of Dean Wesley Smith. I don’t think I’m suffering from a Quantity vs Quality dilemma – you can have both, and constant rewriting doesn’t necessarily mean better writing.
Still, there’s a difference between writing what I consider my best, and gearing a story toward someone else’s criteria. I’ve said for years I don’t regulate what my stories are about, or where they decide to go. I’m always skittish of revising a story too much, because once you start down that path, the tendency is to dilute the story’s voice (that’s what makes it UNIQUE.) However, it is possible that I could make myself REVISE the story to conform with the specific criteria that would increase my chances for that one market – a good hook in the first 13 lines, beautiful prose, vibrant descriptions – whatever the market says it values. (Of course, there some markets that would also require that I become a different race, gender or …whatever else that I don’t think I can pull off, so let’s forget about pleasing those, shall we?)
I think WotF is worth the little extra effort it will take me to make one additional pass on a story. I’ve already picked the one for this quarter – mysteriously, I received two of what I will call POSITIVE REJECTIONS in the last two days on this same story. One of them had held the story for three months, but the other had it for eight (this was not a deliberate simultaneous submission – I lost track of the first submission in my records.) Getting two POSITIVE rejections like this – I will consider it a SIGN that this is the story I should give a tiny bit more polish to and submit to Writers of the Future.
Writers need all the motivation we can muster – even if we have to call it something as flakey and improbable as a SIGN.
William Mangieri’s writing, including his newly released collection The First Three ‘Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND’, can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri